Here Is The Best Time To Treat Your Lawn For Dandelions & Similar Perennial Weeds

Love them or hate them, there's a good chance you'll encounter weeds in your yard at some point, yet there are few that draw more ire than dandelions and other perennial weeds. These tricky little plants come back year after year as they're not easily killed by something as harsh as winter, which is why they're best dealt with in the fall. Their massive root systems keep them rooted, literally, in any place they choose. They're survivors. 

Because they are survivors, many homeowners will turn to herbicides or weed killers to solve their unwelcome yard invaders. Some herbicides can have the negative effect of killing grass around them too, making it important to select treatments that won't lay waste to your unsuspecting lawn. Be sure to check the product label when shopping for herbicides to choose one that won't kill the surrounding grass. If you're new to herbicides, be sure to check out the types of weed killer to consider before spraying your yard

Treat weeds in the fall

As the weather warms and trees come back into bloom, you may begin to notice weed treatment signs crop up around the neighborhood, but don't let those signs fool you. The best time to treat a lawn for dandelions and other weeds is months before the warmth of springtime. In fact, the best time to apply treatments to dandelions or other perennial weeds is between September to October to halt them in their tracks. 

This is because these plants are supplying their roots with nutrients for the long winter ahead. So, if you apply herbicide while this movement is happening, the plant will send the weed killer down to the roots, too. Tests done at Kansas State University indicated that applying herbicides to dandelions in autumn had a 90% control rate in the next spring as compared to the 50% rate of application in spring or summer. 

When applying herbicides in September or October, it's best to do so in the morning when temperatures are lower. That's because the weed killer is known to be more affective as the temps go up. You can even make your own DIY weed killer to control the weeds in your yard and avoid harmful chemicals in the process. 

Other ways to control perennial weeds all year

Even if you've missed the preferable fall window for weed killer application, all is not lost. Weeds, pesky as they can be, can be controlled in other ways — and slightly less effectively — with herbicide after the autumn months. For instance, aerating your lawn is known for helping grass grow thicker and making it harder for weed root systems to take over. While it may not get rid of your weeds immediately, it will help the soil to be healthier. 

While much more time consuming, you can also pull each of the weed clumps by hand before they reproduce – pulling weeds is a whole lot easier with this common kitchen item, by the way. For dandelions, do this before their blooms go from yellow to fuzzy heads with seedlings ready to fly. You'll need to get as much of the weed root system as possible, keeping in mind the complex root system is how these weedy lawn invaders hold strong every year.

You can also try smothering the weeds, which is a good option if they're growing in a patch together. To do this, cover them with something like a tarp or cardboard to block out the sun. This may not be a pretty method, since it has to stay this way for weeks to be effective, but it is a way to deal with difficult perennial weeds even after the fall season.